Saturday May 2nd 2009. Launch -12 days and Counting.


All quiet on the Herschel front. We have heard through back channels that Herschel is now mounted on top of the Ariane. Herschel is topped-up and ready. The next major event will be the closing of the fairing for rolling-out, two days before launch. When that happens we need to go as quickly as possible to avoid wasting helium on the launch pad.


Did some shopping in the morning and more cleaning and tidying, but most of the afternoon was spent listening to the cricket over the Internet. Poor Kevin Hand on the Middlesex commentary: he really takes it badly when Middlesex are beaten, but he’s a great sport with the teasing on the e-mails. Really the guy does a brilliant job on his own for 6 hours per day and livens-up even the dullest match. Got him to put some questions to the Middlesex Director of Cricket, the former England bowler Angus Fraser, who gave some thoughtful and detailed answers. Listening to Kevin’s commentary it is striking that most of the e-mails seem to come in from abroad: he has a loyal fan base all around the world and must have a few listeners in the United Kingdom too… surely!